MANNINGTON — Saturday marked National Drug Take Back Day, a day where unused prescriptions could be safely disposed of with the help of local police and pharmacies.
Johnna Harter, the pharmacist at Mannington Pharmacy, said a lot of times kids can get into medicine cabinets where there may be a bottle of old narcotics or other medicines that should otherwise be out of reach.
“They either take them or sell them. It happens a lot,” Harter said.
She said she recently did continuing education course about drug diversion and said people getting their hands on narcotics is a pretty common occurrence.
“That’s one of the highest reasons kids say that they started using drugs was from family members that had drugs laying around the house,” she said.
Harter said she once had drugs stolen out of her own home. She said people were putting a pool in at her home and asked to use the bathroom.
“I had old medicine in there from when my husband had surgery and you know it just crossed my mind a couple days after they left and I went in there and it was gone,” Harter said.
This was Mannington Pharmacy’s first time participating in Drug Take Back Day having opened last month. Harter used to work at Red Dot Pharmacy, and Mannington Pharmacy is the only independent pharmacy in Mannington.
Harter said, a lot of times, medicine has an expiration date on it and anytime after that people should get rid of the medicine because it does lose its potency as time goes on.
“Sometimes there are certain medicines that can actually change as they get old and they become dangerous,” Harter said.
Harter said there are safe ways to get rid of medicines when a take back day is not available. She said it’s recommended that old medicine be mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw in the trash, but never in the toilet or sink.
“Make them so they’re not able to be used if someone would find them in the garbage,” Harter said.
Sgt. Jason Offutt of the Fairmont Police Department said there were a few people who disposed of medicine at the Public Safety Building on Saturday. Also at the police department, people could take pamphlets that spell out different ways they can get rid of unused medicine or household sharps such as needles, syringes, lancets and other objects.
Offutt said, after the medicine is collected, it will be taken to another location and dropped off with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which coordinates Drug Take Back Day nationwide. DEA officials take the drugs and incinerate them safely.
“There are various locations where we will box it up, take it and drop it off to them,” he said.
He said when people get rid of their medicines in a proper way it prevents all sorts of things. For one, if a medication is expired it’s normally less effective and prevents people from taking something even if they think it’s still safe.
“It prevents kids and other people from taking medicine that they shouldn’t or could hard them. It goes with everything. It’s not completely narcotics or anything like that. It just helps people from accidentally ingesting things also,” Offutt said.